Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Penguin Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review.
I loooooooooooove Sophie Kinsella. It’s rare for me to read one of her books and not enjoy it. She is a really funny writer and I’m not sure she’s given enough credit for the emotional depth of her writing and her characters. People are probably distracted by the insane(ly hilarious) hi jinx her characters get up to.
Maybe Finding Audrey will change that.
Finding Audrey is Kinsella’s first attempt at YA fiction and I have to say, she hit it out of the park.
Audrey has developed an anxiety disorder from something that happened at school. You never find out exactly what happened, but you can guess. The result is that she wears dark glasses all the time because she finds eye contact extremely difficult, she never leaves the house – even for school – and her family, brothers Frank and Felix, and her very concerned but a touch hover-y parents, are constantly concerned she’s going to have a meltdown.
With the help of her therapist, Dr. Sarah, Audrey starts trying to push herself more and that’s how she starts talking to Frank’s friend, Linus. Linus seems to understand that Audrey needs to take it slow, that writing works as communication for her right now and soon he’s helping her to go all the way to Starbucks, a massive step for her.
I loved so much about this book.
I loved that it was about a teenaged girl struggling with her mental health. I loved that her therapist was a warm, understanding person who urged Audrey to continue taking her medication while pushing her to take bigger steps outside of her comfort zone. I loved that she had a loving, yet totally realistic, family. Her mom is always trying crazy things she reads about in the Daily Mail, Frank is addicted to video games, and her dad is half-listening some of the time.
Yes, it was a teen romance in a way but only in all the best ways. Linus shows Audrey that she’s worth something, that she can go to Starbucks and be ok, that the world isn’t always a scary place.
I loved the fact that we never find out what exactly happened that triggered Audrey’s anxiety disorder because it was never about what happened. It was about moving forward, about allowing it to have happened but not to let it define who Audrey is. There’s such a great lesson in this book about the ups and downs of life, it’s not a straight line up, there are always going to be tough bits of life but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t participate anyway.
Programming note: This will likely be my last post before Christmas. Am hoping to get a few posts up before the new year but in the meantime there’s a log cabin in the woods waiting for me. I’ll basically be spending all my time reading though so hopefully I will have lots to write about when I get back! Hope you and your families have a wonderful holiday!